Thursday, August 16, 2012

Atoll Tale

Earlier this I week I wrote, with some astonishment, about freshly-minted young advertising creatives who graduate from portfolio school one week and are making million dollar TV spots the next. Without ever having paid some dues or, dare I say it, learned the craft of the business.

As it turns out I stumbled across something that amply proves my point.
Not about the craft, but more about the paying of the dues.

Yesterday I went to the bank to fish out my daughters SS #'s from the safe deposit box. As I was rummaging through the important documents of my life, I found this buried treasure (pictured above).

It's a two-fold black and white brochure that I wrote for a recruitment advertising agency way back in the Mesozoic Era.

The idea was to recruit engineers and software technicians to Kwajalein to help Kentron (a company that was affiliated with Rockwell or Northrop or TRW) shore up our South Pacific defense systems. It was the first piece of copy I had ever written. I kept it. Not because it was good, but because it would remind me of how good I wasn't.

The copy is stilted. It's dry. And I doubt that one intrepid engineer picked up this inconsequential brochure and said, "Honey let's pack our bags and some sunscreen, we're going to Kwajalein."

In other words, it was a total failure.
Followed by 1000 more total failures.

At this point I could launch into a rant about how all those failures were necessary in my development as a writer. And how I learned from my mistakes and blah, blah, blah, rejection, blah, blah, character-building, blah, blah, blah, improvement, blah, blah, mediocrity, blah, blah, blah, halfway-decent, blah, blah, blah, blah, awards, blah, blah, attitude, blah, blah, inflated ego, blah, blah, blah, severance check.

But I covered that earlier in the week.

And frankly I'm tired of listening to myself blather on about that. If clients/agencies want to turn the marketing reins over to a bunch of tenderfoots who don't know the difference between there and they're, that's their business.

Besides there's something more interesting at hand.

You see, I just finished reading Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken, the tale of downed bombardier Louis Zamperini and his harrowing four years in captivity as a Japanese prisoner of war. Turns out the first island of his tortuous journey was the very same Kwajalein.

Well, it was interesting to me.


geo said...

"There is an 8 lane bowling alley for those who've got the time to spare."


Jeff said...

Louis Zampirini spoke at my kid's school a short while ago. It was one of the greatest nights and most moving events I've ever been to. Certainly put the whining I do on a daily basis about the most inconsequential things in perspective.

glasgowdick said...

George, I'm embarrassed that you actually read the copy. But you did find the only evidence that I was indeed the author.

Jeff, you should read the book. It's fascinating. But it might make you rethink your allegiance to Japanese automobiles.